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Added by jaytoast on 2 Mar 2012 04:47
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Dear Cinema Diary - Vol 3 E3 - March 2012

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Top Picks...

Well, sort of an odd month for watching films. While my pain level is getting better, I hope to be able to get a bit more done in the month in April.

People who added this item 890 Average listal rating (589 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.8
The Grey (2011)
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People who added this item 651 Average listal rating (409 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.4
Take Shelter (2011)
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People who added this item 1025 Average listal rating (609 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.1


A dark and cynical look behind the scenes of politics.
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People who added this item 198 Average listal rating (113 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.1


Still, not quite sure what to think of this film. While I think that enough time has passed where the film didn't feel quite like a Pro-American War film. There were aspects of the story that felt a little polished. In other words I think the 'good guy' was a little too good.
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Description Frozen River is a dramatic feature film which takes place in the days before Christmas near a little-known border crossing on the Mohawk reservation between New York State and Quebec. Here, the lure of fast money from smuggling presents a daily challenge to single moms who would otherwise be earning minimum wage. Two women- one white, one Mohawk, both single mothers faced with desperate circumstances- are drawn into the world of border smuggling across the frozen water of the St. Lawrence River.

Despite the Oscar nominations, I feel that this films is rather under rated. Before "Winter's Bone" was "Frozen River" a film with same harsh realities of life and a glimpse into life in America not often seen. What I think makes 'Frozen River" stand out is the moral ambiguity of the choices made. In an effort to make life just a tad bit better for her family Ray Eddy walks a line of being slightly unsympathetic to that of an anti-hero. There is a true humanity in Melissa Leo performance as she weighs what criminal activities she is willing to be apart of and attempts to grasp a lines that quickly blurs with each river crossing. There is an illogical nature to her that I found charming, hording bath salts and never feeling worthy of the time for such luxuries. It is these simple actions throughout the film that can be easily overlooked but things I found truly endearing.
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People who added this item 137 Average listal rating (95 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 5.9
The Double (2011)


An interesting spy thriller. I found at least one of the twists to be rather lame. So, I'm not going to be placing it on any top ten list any time soon.
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People who added this item 1807 Average listal rating (1167 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.4


Rated PG-13 Romantic Comedy. While I didn't find the film very interesting it wasn't quite the train wreck that "Date Night" turned out to be. So, Steve Carell once again brings out the boring middle aged white guy character just in a different film.
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People who added this item 287 Average listal rating (184 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.9
Sanctum (2011)


Blockbuster eye candy with hardly any surprises. Ignore the hype that this film is 'based on a true story' as it is yet another father-son coming of age film in the face of adversity. A disappointing bore of a film that could only been seen as impressive if seen in 3-D or whatever else new technology Hollywood is shilling out this year.
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People who added this item 853 Average listal rating (528 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6
Immortals (2011)


As many of you might know by now I'm not a big fan of many of the 'sword and sandals' epics. Especially the more recent films... and prefer the "Clash of the Titans" 80's style with stop motion master craftsmanship by Ray Harryhausen. I'm not a fan of CGI and dark visual effects to 'hide' any flaws. HOWEVER... I did find that I liked this film far more then other viewers.

My main complaints
1. The film is visually dark which as a special effect didn't really work very well and a few times was just down right annoying.

2. The Gods of Olympus choice of actors. Isabel Lucas and Kellan Lutz both have very few lines yet... still manage to sound like they are ordering coffee drinks in West Hollywood.

3. The Gods "Hats"... I have no idea what was going on with that stupidity but it just managed to highlight poor acting. You have to be a pretty damn good actor to pull off Olympic God lines while wearing a silly hat.

On the plus side Freida Pinto and Luke Evans do stand out as decent actors. Even if Luke Evans isn't anything close to what I would personally picture as Zeus. He still managed to command a 'god like' presence.

Henry Cavill well.. couldn't tell you in all honesty. I think he is a good actor and did a fine job with the part but my IQ tends to drop when ever he is bare chested. This happens frequently in the film which is plus in my book but... well hardly worth an Oscar for having a new personal trainer.

I don't think the film is as horrible as many say that it is but it seems that the film can't decide if it wants to be "Troy" or "300"... instead choosing to be something between the two films and looking like a bad copy of one or the other.
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Foreign Language



There is a bleak minimalist style to this film especially in regards to pacing and dialogue. I found this worked well in balancing the sleek and cool aspects of the characters and criminal world. This is not the typical American gangster film but at the same time it is a film that would define the world of future Neo-Noir films.

While I'm very happy to have a last caught up with this film, I'm almost disappointed that I haven't watched many of Melville previous films. Ah, but it certainly won't be the last film of his I watch.
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A very interesting film that came at a strange time in Poland's history. For all my griping about using dark camera work this film does a nice job of using that technique to focus on the main subject in any particular scene.

This is a dark and grim film about capital punishment and murder. Other films have come out that are more heavy handed in pushing their political agenda. Here, Kieslowski gives and almost distant account of the events. This works in the films favor as you don't need Oscar worthy speeches to present a dark reality.

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Very cute and surreal film. I was a little confused at the start because there were two lines of dialog going on at the same time but things clear up and quickly became downright strange.

Thanks for the giraffe and Xanadon't for putting this on their monthly film lists. It was the poke in the bottom that I needed to queue the film :)
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People who added this item 69 Average listal rating (39 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.1
Krabat (2008)


This film borders more on being a horror film just for the story line. That of a young boy being taken in to be apprentice to the crafts of the black arts. He is one of twelve young men bound to serve the master and the satanic mill.

So, this is not some cute "Sorcerers Apprentice" as the magic is dark and the consequences of following the path are even darker.

Some of the story deals with friendships and romance but it never took those story lines over the top or made them sickly sweet and unbearable to watch. Personally, I found the evil nature of the mill always looming over any other story element.

I would recommend this film if... you could ever find it on a US compatible dvd format. You could read the book... which is also only in German. Meh... well keep your fingers crossed. I would hate for a gem like this get missed due to import issues.
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People who added this item 390 Average listal rating (211 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
Heartbeats (2010)


French Canadian film about two friends who begin to pursue the same man. The film is well crafted and focus more on artistic aspects and character nuances rather then scripted dialogue.

I was almost tempted to rate this film much lower because I didn't really find the story that original. However, it does manage to redeem its self in the final moments of the film. Besides it has one of my favorite Nancy Sinatra songs sung by Dalida ;)


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People who added this item 60 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7


Great film regarding the French involvement that helped bring down communist Russia during the 80's.
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People who added this item 139 Average listal rating (95 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.2


A very impressive film regarding the Russian Afghanistan war. It is a cinematic beautiful film while still being tragic and dark.

This is one of the better crafted film regarding that war. However, personally I have now officially seen too many Russian Afghan war films. With the message being pretty clear that you would have to be stupid to go to war against Afghanistan... oh wait... damn...

Don't you hate that history repeats its self and no one seems to learn anything. Stupid history... always mocking our current conditions.
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Classic Picks...



While some aspects of the film may seem dated. The message of how social conventions born out of spite and ignorance still influence our lives however is still relevant.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau is brought up frequently in the film which I found interesting.

I have never been too big of a Rock Hudson fan and in this film his screen presence was so wooden he might have been one of the trees his character was so fond of talking about.
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People who added this item 453 Average listal rating (267 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.1


A fun sweet film that while yes it would be considered a 'romantic comedy' but it won't leave you feeling brain damaged.
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One of the better spy thrillers with Pierce Brosnan playing a Russian spy building a nuclear device in the UK.
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Ah, the 70's produced some of the best 'all star disaster' films. While not being totally dreadfull it isn't the best. Save yourself for "Towering Inferno" or "The Poseidon Adventure"
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Movie Exchange Program

The plan is to catch up on these films over the St. Patrick's day weekend if not before then. I have watched too much horror so it might be time to switch to a few comedy films.


Understated and underrated Bill Murray comedy. I found to the film to be fun and entertaining. Sure, not rolling on the floor laughing but it was a nice way to fill out an afternoon.
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OK, so I confess that I have some issues with watching this film. The continuity between "For a Few Dollars More" and this film felt off to me. There are also a few 'cheeky humor' parts that had my eyes rolling.

However, I think this stands as the strongest film from the Dollars Trilogy, with "For A Few Dollars More" being the weakest of the three films.

I'm glad that I didn't try to watch all three films in a given day but tried to give each film time and space apart.
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People who added this item 2002 Average listal rating (1278 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.2


Have to say I'm pretty surprised that I really didn't enjoy this film very much. I found he escalation of revenge to be a little yawn educing and much like a b-grade horror film I found myself just waiting for everyone to die.
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LGBT Theme



Gay Sports themed film from Iceland... hard to believe hardly anyone has watched the film :/

OK, that said I was very thankful that this wasn't a flat out comedy and had more dramatic elements then laughs. This is some rather odd editing at the end which was very sad for a film that had held up pretty well. Still, if your in the mood for a 'gay sports themed' film ah... I think this is one of three choices.
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Horror Films...

People who added this item 391 Average listal rating (253 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.5
The Awakening (2011)


I'm going to be in the minority regarding this film.

I like simple straight forward ghost stories that don't break the laws of the paranormal that they set out with at the start. This feels very similar to "The Orphanage" but not quite as dark of a film.

Rebecca Hall and Dominic West are wonderful actors and it was nice to see them in a film that gave them plenty of room to explore their characters.

This is less of a 'horror' film as a dramatic film with a supernatural aspect.
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People who added this item 49 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 5.8
The Dead (2010)


The American support troops and Red Cross have just moved out. Your on the last plane out of the country and it crashes, Leaving you alone in Africa to deal with a zombie outbreak.

Perhaps it is the slow pace of the film that keeps the ratings so low on this film. I however liked the film and didn't find it nearly as flawed as many of the other indy-zombie flicks to litter the market. The zombies... where in fact zombies and not fast running infected people who could be 'cured'. The situation of the two main characters was rather unique and done rather well.
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People who added this item 415 Average listal rating (246 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.6


Interesting film and there is quite a lot to like about the film. I especially enjoyed the use of the more older traditions regarding faeries as not being nice creatures in anyway.

However, the characters played by Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes, were very sterotypical horror film fodder. Leading to very few interesting developments and an ending that you could almost predict about 15min into the film. So, really your just waiting for 'what you know is going to happen' to finally actually happen.

Still, the special effects for the creatures was pretty nice. So... you know... if there is nothing else to watch you could do far worse then this film.
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People who added this item 285 Average listal rating (200 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.4
Kill List (2011)


Strange independent horror film that seems to meander all over the horror spectrum. I'm almost tempted to lower my rating but the film did keep me entertained while popping Vicodin and eating Funions so... take any recommendations with a pound of salt on this one.
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Cinema Diary for 2012
The Year of The Dragon




This is a scrapbook of ideas, impressions and information about the movies I watch. It is basic, rough and raw in an effort to expand my personal viewing experiences. This is a creative exercise not a critical one. I hope you enjoy.

Other Diary Entires:
Dear Cinema Diary - February 2012
Dear Cinema Diary - Jan 2012

Diary Entries for 2010


October thru December | September | August | July | January

Diary Entries for 2010


December | November | October | September | August | July

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My Film Diary Index (28 lists)
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